Report: IDF Looking for Missing Soldiers' Remains in Egypt

The Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported yesterday that Israel Defense Forces representatives are searching for the remains of missing soldiers in Ismailia, Egypt, near the Suez Canal.

The paper said that Egyptian members of parliament from the Ismailia area are furious over the search and the digging, which they said was being conducted on the grounds of a girls school in the city.

The report said the Israeli search was a clear violation of Egyptian sovereignty, and that parliament members had asked President Hosni Mubarak to stop it immediately and forbid its resumption unless Israel allows an Egyptian delegation to search for the remains of Egyptian soldiers buried in mass graves after the 1967 Six-Day War.

Al-Masry Al-Youm also reported that members of parliament from Mubarak's ruling party had submitted an urgent parliamentary query on the matter, saying the Egyptian security forces had refused to provide any details on the search. Some of the parliamentarians threatened to demonstrate across from the school until the search was halted, unless similar searches were allowed in Israeli territory.

It is in this heated atmosphere that Israel's new ambassador to Egypt, Yitzhak Levanon, began work yesterday, immediately after landing in Cairo. The veteran professional diplomat is replacing Shlomo Cohen. Levanon speaks Arabic and has appeared in the Arab media many times on the Foreign Ministry's behalf.